Tag Archives: Election

Truth as a dodge

27 Jul

I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.  John 4:17

Woman at the well

Jesus gives her credit.  The Samaritan woman is telling the truth, partially. She is not married, but she is living with a man who is not her husband.  And Jesus calls her bluff by revealing that he knows the real situation.

Politicians are masters at this ploy.  Their words FEEL like truth because there is in fact some truth among all their discourse.

So why is this important?  The heads up to be wary of one’s interlocutor’s replies or explanations reminds me to ask some questions as I evaluate what I am hearing (or reading for that matter!)

It goes without saying for good logical Joes and Janes that in every meaningful discussion the definition of terms needs to be established and agreed upon.  I am talking about additional considerations.

Pastor John Piper has taught me, via his sermons, to listen well by assessing the following:

  • What other words could have been chosen?  By saying X, what is he NOT saying?
  • What grounds her statement?  What is behind it?  What presuppositions precede it?

It could be that what is NOT said actually carries more significance than what is out in the open.  This is especially true in a country as divided by issues, as America seems to be. With an election ahead of us, why not practice with me in evaluating at a more deep and layered level what a speaker or writer might actually be intending.  More importantly, may we be care-filled about our words.  Words matter!

Logical Gal and the beauty of a category error

29 Oct

I heard some good news this week – enunciated in a way that I can understand AND remember.

Good for goodness sake

And it was just the opposite of the song invoked in the photo above.  Whew!

One of my favorite preaching pastors, John Piper Link to his site, was explaining the concept of election and justification, Christian terms for being called into the Christian family by God.  He painted the scenario of a gal lamenting to her pastor that her past was SO BAD, that NO WAY could God forgive her enough to let her into His kingdom.

That’s when Piper described her as BOTH prideful AND incorrect in thinking that any condition could block God’s will.

At that moment…..drum roll Piper announced that God NEVER even considers one’s past life or actions in his selection of His children.  This gal was making a category error.  She was thinking that the two kinds of people were

  • the GOOD enough

and the

  • NOT GOOD enough

It is truly happy news to learn that she was not even in the ball park.

She was right on one account;  there are just TWO categories of folk.  All humans fall into one of these two groups:

  • those who belong to the family of God and are considered His adopted children
  • those who don’t belong to the family because God has not adopted them as His children

But HOW He chooses is a mystery. If we take His words as truth (and since He is God, by nature He IS Truth), then He has decreed who He adopts for His own reasons that have nothing to do with how ‘bad or good’ we are.  (Truth be told, NO ONE is ‘good’.)  Listen to what God teaches us through Paul’s writings in Romans 9: 10-13

  • when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”  As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Of course, we will probably trip over the verbs LOVED and HATED.

So as all good logicians and thinkers, we should CLARIFY THE MEANING of these two terms.

 

Clarify meanining

I’ll leave you to think through what God might intend by ‘love and hate’, but before you snort and feel frustrated, think about how we freely and loosely toss around terms.

  • I love movies….I love my dog…I love my children…I love God
  • I hate laundry….I hate Mondays….I hate terrorists….I hate it when I lose my temper

 

Logical Gal and the power of the right question

2 May

Clarify

The Apostle Paul talks about the concept of election in Romans 8

For those God  foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (verse 29)

A point of controversy  hinges on the way you define ‘foreknow‘ .  Tuesday, during the weekly call-in show called Stand to Reason , I heard the host Greg Koukl ask the question – What or Whom does God foreknow?   This turned out to be THE correct question which led me to some new knowledge.

Thank you Socrates!

Socratic questions

 

There are at least 2 ways of  thinking about this foreknowledge:

One group of Christians holds to the view that God gives a measure of grace to every one.  Some then build on that grace by yielding or accepting Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  God knows ahead of time who is going to ‘choose’ because He can look down the corridors of time at all points of events future. Knowing who will yield to Him are those people considered ‘elect’.

The other group of Christians maintains that God ‘chooses’ ahead of time who will be the recipients of His gift of mercy and grace.  They can’t possibly ‘choose’ Him because by nature they would reject God.  So His work of grace has to be 100 percent.

It turns out that limiting oneself to the common definition of  foreknowledge as ‘information held before an event’ is both misleading AND insufficient. God doesn’t exercise foreknowledge of information (wrong term) God foreknows PEOPLE (He chooses people).  On the other hand knowing all information ahead of time or anytime  is called omniscience.

That one question of ‘ What does God have foreknowledge of – people or choices/courses of action?’ amplifies the discussion in a significant way that adds depth to our understanding of God!

Right Question

Take-away: What follow-up questions will yield more relevant information to a topic important to you?